No, we are not about to roll up on Skyline Chili while admiring the red and white water tower (but that’s a good feeling too). We are in Firenze!
Here’s the difference between Florence and Rome. First, the views are better.
The people are still really beautiful, but they are much nicer than the Romans. Florence is cleaner than Rome, and the shopping is way better. And so is the gelato. And Michelangelo’s David (sigh) lives here. Is it possible to be in love with a man who is 500 years old, 15 feet tall, and made of marble? Apparently, it is. Anyway, here is the view from our hotel window:
Yesterday morning we did an historic tour of Florence, where we saw my aforementioned boyfriend (you’re not allowed to take his photo though) and the Duomo.
Afterwards we got caught in a torrential downpour with huge thunder and lightning. Apparently when the power goes out in Florence, a big alarm sounds through the city, in case the power going out wasn’t enough to let you know that the power has gone out.
Hubba Bubba and I ducked into a cafe for shelter, where I noticed that my hair looked literally like a bird’s nest. Magnifico! Then we made a run for it (because, of course, as you might guess, our umbrellas were tucked safely into our suitcases in the hotel room at the time), and hovered in the foyer of an apartment building for a while.
Later in the day it cleared up, and we trekked over to the Basilica di Santa Croce, where Galileo and Michelangelo are both buried. Here’s Michelangelo. He completed David while in his mid-twenties before moving along to paint the Sistine Chapel, but he lived to be 89. Talk about peaking early.
We also discovered this garment worn by St. Francis of Assisi. Italy is so full of these sorts of unassuming surprises! I would have expected a giant Vegas-style billboard: “STEP RIGHT UP! GARMENT WORN BY ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI IN HERE, FOLKS!” But instead it just kind of quietly sits there while you almost walk by it. It makes me wonder how many amazing things we have walked right by.
But there is one thing we certainly did NOT miss. It was right in our hotel room:
The Italians don’t live in big spaces, nor do they provide you with much in your hotel room. Our room in Rome barely provided enough space to walk around the bed. They did, however, find space for a bidet, and so did our hotel in Florence.
Mike and I giggled. Stood over it. Studied it. Didn’t touch it. Googled instructions as to its use. Giggled some more. Avoided it. Last night I was reading in bed when Mike strutted out of the bathroom, looking proud as a peach. “What are you grinning about?” I demanded.
“I just cleansed my intimates,” he announced, with the gusto of a man who has just gotten a raise or learned he is descended from the Habsburgs. “I feel like a new man.”
“You used the butt washer?” I jumped out of bed to investigate the evidence in the bathroom. “How?”
He explained that you stand over it and angle the nozzle however it suits you. The hotel kindly provides some soap and linens. Sure enough, the bidet was wet like a sink that someone has just washed their hands in, and one of the neat little linen towels was lying in a crinkly pile on the floor. “I feel like a new man!” he continued to proclaim.
I have to hand it to the guy for trying new things and liking them. Tonight at dinner he ordered the goat and quite enjoyed it. He was on a bit of a high because — after he was repeatedly mistaken in Rome for a native Spanish-speaker — a man today asked him if he was Italian! We had stopped in a highlyecommended pizza place for a slice (stools and a counter type of place), when we noticed that the guy next to Mike seemed to be speaking Italian to no one in particular. Finally in English he said to Mike, “Are you Italian?” It turns out he was talking to Mike the whole time; we just had no idea. Anyway, Mike was pretty excited. I don’t blame him.
But speaking of new experiences, I can’t wait to tell you about our Taste Florence tour — fantastic! I will probably be back in the US of A when you hear from me again. Tomorrow we travel by train back to Rome, then get up very early Sunday morning to fly to Heathrow, then to LA for a delightful 22 straight hours of traveling. Whew!
So have a great weekend, and I will talk to you on Monday!